This is a simple yet elegant preparation that makes the most of the beautiful whole squab we get from Paine Farm. Adding the reserved bones to the pot as the beans cook creates a rich, golden broth. You’ll need to plan ahead, but the hands-on cooking time is minimal and you can improvise with which vegetables and herbs you choose to include.
The recipe below is based on a dish Aaron made for a recent date night at the Rocchino’s. He was inspired by the Llano Seco Appaloosa beans we are now carrying at the shop, however Cannellini or Rancho Gordo Flageolet beans would also make a great accompaniment. You’ll likely want some crusty bread on hand for sopping up every last bit of broth.
Pan Roasted Squab with Beans and Spring Onions
Serves 2 with leftover beans
- 2 whole Paine Farm Squab
- 1/2 lb. (1 cup) dried beans, pre-soaked
- 4 small spring onions
- 1 carrot
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled
- 1/4 cup white wine (optional)
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
Prepare the squab (or ask your local butcher to do this for you): Remove the feet and wing tips. Cut the squab into serving pieces as you would a chicken, resulting in 2 legs, 2 wings, and 2 boneless breasts. Place the legs, wings, and breasts in a bowl, lightly toss with white wine and reserve for later in the refrigerator. Collect the feet, wing tips, back and head for the broth. If you prefer, you can also add the wings to your broth.
Thinly slice 2 of the spring onions and grate the carrot. Lay a large piece of cheesecloth (at least a 12″ square) out on a cutting board. Place the bones for broth in the center and lay a piece of parchment or wax paper on top. Use a heavy cast-iron skillet to whack the bones a few times and crush them to expose the marrow. Remove the paper, pile the thinly sliced ginger on top of the bones and tie the cheesecloth into a sachet. Place in a small stockpot along with the soaked and drained beans, onions, carrots and a generous pinch of salt. Add cold water to cover. Bring the beans just to a bubble and then reduce to a very low (not even a simmer). Gently cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 hours or until the beans are tender and the cooking liquid has become a rich broth. Remove the sachet of bones, squeezing to release any liquid and discard. Remove 1/2 cup of the beans and mash them with the back of a spoon. Return the mashed beans to them the pot and stir to combine. Set aside until ready to serve.
Season the squab with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet with a splash of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the squab pieces to the pan: Place the leg and wing pieces in the pan skin side up, cook for 3 minutes and then flip until the skin gets good color. Once the skin is a golden brown, flip the legs and wings back over. Place the breast pieces in the pan skin side down and cook 10-12 minutes, then turn and continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 130°. Remove the breast pieces from the pan and allow to rest while the legs and wings continue to cook through for about 5 minutes longer.
While the squab is cooking, bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the 2 remaining spring onions. Blanch for 1-2 minutes, drain and reserve. After you remove the squab from the skillet, turn the heat up to medium-high. Cut the onions in half length-wise and sear for 1-2 minutes per side until browned in spots.
Gently reheat the beans and ladle portions into two shallow bowls. Slice the breasts and place the squab pieces over the brothy beans. Place the spring onion pieces alongside and serve.
(photos by Langdon Froker, Heather Marold Thomason, Monica Rocchino)